WATCH | ‘Better than a telenovela writer’: Trillanes confronts Aguirre on 5 ‘tales’

August 31, 2017 - 7:02 PM
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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II: too many reckless accusations, says Sen. Antonio Trillanes. PNA file)

MANILA – What was supposed to be a Senate hearing on the 2018 budget of the Department of Justice turned out to be a grudge batch between agency head Vitaliano Aguirre and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday.

Trillanes used the hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance to confront Aguirre with instances where, he said, the Justice secretary had made reckless accusations without basis.

At the rate he is going, Aguirre is turning out to be a better scriptwriter than telenovela writers, said Trillanes.

The senator then proceeded to show five videos showing Aguirre in various media interviews.

In one video, Aguirre told the media Trillanes had a hand in the stabbing of New Bilibid inmate Jaybee Sebastian, who was attacked at about the time he was declining the DOJ’s offer for him to testify at the House of Representatives hearing on the flourishing of the prison drug trade during the time of Aguirre’s nemesis and predecessor at DOJ, detained senator Leila de Lima.

Trillanes wondered aloud how Aguirre could so easily tag him in the prison stabbing, solely on the basis of an affidavit by Sebastian’s attacker that he got his orders to stab the inmate from a Philippine Navy officer who was a batchmate of Trillanes, a former soldier before being elected senator.

Aguirre insisted he was merely reading from the affidavit and it was an investigation being conducted by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG).

In the end, Aguirre admitted he had no evidence against the senator on this matter.

In another case, Trillanes raked up an interview where Aguirre accused the senator of being behind an attempt to bribe officials to blame Aguirre in connection with the P50-million bribery extortion involving Macau-based gaming tycoon Jack Lam.

Aguirre’s reply: he just received word from someone who overheard a conversation between Trillanes and senators Bam Aquino and Kiko Pangilinan.

Yet another instance was when Aguirre showed reporters photos of Trillanes in a supposed meeting with certain Mindanao leaders before the Marawi siege erupted on May 23.

Trillanes said that supposed meeting took place in 2015, not 2017.

Aguirre admitted he felt betrayed by the person who gave him the photo. He also blamed the media for publishing the photo even though he told them he was still validating his information.

Another issue Trillanes raised against Aguirre: the DOJ chief claimed Trillanes and Senator Franklin Drilon were included in the list of alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.

On Thursday, however, Aguirre once again admitted making a mistake, and corrected his information: neither Trillanes nor Drilon is on Janet’s list, he said.

Drilon, meanwhile, confronted Aguirre with his earlier claim that the Liberal Party had bribed with P2 million the parents of Kian delos Santos, the schoolboy killed by Caloocan cops on a anti-drug operation.

Aguirre claimed he was not the media’s source of that allegation, but admitted hearing about it.

In the end, Trillanes reminded the Justice secretary to be careful in making accusations or sharing unvalidated information, and to avoid being caught up in political intramurals, because the DOJ is supposed to be an impartial office.

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